Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget would eliminate nydoctorprofile.com, a state-run website that provides information to current and prospective patients about New York doctors’ education, areas of practice, professional activities, and legal action taken against them. According to the governor’s proposed budget, the site is duplicative, as much of the information on it can be found elsewhere on the internet.The key difference is that this site is operated by the NY Department of Health, whereas many other sites are run privately. The DOH site is also free, while some other sites are pay per usage.
The doctor profile site provides numerous valuable research tools for individuals seeking a new health care provider. The categories are broken into subcategories. For instance, by searching a particular physician’s “Practice Info” tab, users can glean information regarding the doctor’s specialty, office locations, insurances accepted, and hospital privileges. Often equally important to healthcare consumers is information regarding legal actions taken against the physician. Under this category, the site lists judgments and arbitration awards, settlements, and malpractice history, among other pieces of information. Whether searching for a healthcare provider for oneself, or one’s children, or even one’s elderly parents, it is important to know the doctor’s litigation history. A single incident in his or her malpractice history could be a single event in an otherwise unblemished career. A long list of of offenses might signal a physician you would prefer to avoid. In either scenario, the insight gained from the DOH site provides a basis for making an informed decision. And while, even if the site is terminated with the new budget, such information would still be available elsewhere, it would not necessarily all be gathered in one place, nor would it necessarily have the Department of Health seal.
The proposed shuttering of the site has spawned harsh criticism from lawmakers and advocacy groups. As quoted in James Mulder’s post on syracuse.com (link below), State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, the chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee stated “[I]t concerns me that we would shut down the only site with the official stamp of the health department. As we move towards more transparency and public access to healthcare information, this proposal takes us in the opposite direction.”
The doctor profile costs the state approximately 1.2 million dollars per year. Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget is 142 billion dollars.
More information on this proposal can be found here:
Cuomo wants to pull plug on free website that reveals malpractice info about docs, syracuse.com, James T. Mulder, January 30, 2015